Lawyer explains appeal in La. chief justice spat

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A lawyer for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says a federal judge created confusion when she ruled in favor of state Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson's bid to become the court's next chief justice.

Kevin Tully, one of the state's attorneys, said in a statement Saturday that it's unclear whether U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan believes a 20-year-old federal court settlement prohibits the state's highest court from "carrying out its constitutional duties" and naming its next chief justice.

On Friday, Jindal's lawyers asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review Morgan's decision.

Morgan ruled on Sept. 1 that Johnson has the seniority to succeed Chief Justice Catherine "Kitty" Kimball when she retires early next year. Justice Jeffrey Victory also argues he is legally entitled to succeed Kimball.

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